How do you raise awareness about climate change and its potential impact on communities? Sometimes technology is applied to the challenge, including apps, gamification and virtual reality, but non-technical approaches can work as well. The main tool used recently on Hawaii was blue chalk.
Hawaii, like a lot of islands, is on the front-line of climate change and has been doing a lot of work around resilience, in part within the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities initiative – http://smartercommunities.media/honolulu-builds-climate-change-resilience/
As Honolulu’s chief resilience officer, Josh Stanbro, said recently, the increased frequency of Pacific storms and sea level rises are a major concern, not least because 80 per cent of the population lives in the shoreline area. An independent study has predicted a 3.2 foot sea level rise, from a combination of rising seas, annual high wave ﬂooding, and coastal erosion.
That study led to the creation of a Sea Level Rise Exposure Area, with work under way related to storm water, drainage and roads. But how do you bring the Exposure Area to life?
Coinciding with international Earth Day, more than 1,000 community members and students joined Blue Planet Foundation for the Blue Line Project, which used chalk to draw ‘blue lines’ that mark areas across the state that would be impacted by the 3.2 foot sea level rise. Blue Planet Foundation is a local non-profit organisation centred on powering the transition to 100% clean energy in Hawaii (https://blueplanetfoundation.org/about/).
The Blue Line was drawn in 15 locations, to raise awareness about climate change. Those taking part included students, teachers, community leaders, lawmakers, fire service officers, businesses, and Hawaii residents, plus local government representatives, including from Honolulu’s Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency.
The project was backed up in the preceding few weeks by visits from Blue Planet to over 50 classrooms and speaking directly to nearly 2,500 students across the state.
As well as raising awareness on the islands, the aim was to send the message: Hawaii cares about protecting the planet. Work is now under way to collectively prepare videos, photos, letters and messages from the day and deliver these to national leaders and the rest of the world.